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« Magazine urges TV to add mobile to its coverage (of Formula One) | Main | Mind the Gap »

April 03, 2008


Tommi Holmgren

Thanks again Tomi for a really thoughtful post!

I've been thinking about the six unique benefits of mobile since I heard you speaking at Divia in Helsinki. I think they are really good starting point for discussions on how companies can embrace the mobile.

Have you actually thought on extending the benefit nr. 5? In my experience it's not only about being available at the point of inspiration, but also being present when there's idle time e.g. in the train and similiar occasions. I think there's tremendous opportunities for companies in those moments.

Alan Moore

The one bit missing form this Tomi is Social Marketing Intelligence - and the ability to truly and deeply understand your audience and community. In this way we are able to discover monetary value otherwise hidden.

Mobile via CDR's provides the most richest of data available couple that with other forms of dataflows and one is looking at something truly valuable.

In taking a life enabling - service approach to commercial communications we can make what as seen universally as interruptive communications into something that has an inherent value - what you describe as being sufficiently contagious.


ps. How cool is the Audi idea and why would that not work in conjunction with the Audi channel in the UK?

Tomi Ahonen

Hi Tommi and Alan

Tommi - good point. Yes, I have thought about it quite a lot ("Moment" is one of the attributes of successful mobile service I discuss in my mobile service creation theory, the Six M's (originally Five M's) developed together with Joe Barrett of Nokia and Paul Golding of Motorola and now mentioned in a dozen or so books already. So yes, the ability to make better use of our time, whether catching up on lost time (yesterday's ice hockey scores) or postponing time (I'll deal with this tomorrow) or multitasking, or alerts and sudden news; the moment attribute is particularly useful also in helping us "kill time" ie 5 minutes before the bus arrives, etc.

But I think while its a valuable attribute, this is not unique to mobile. We can also use a Playstation Portable to help kill time; or an iPod, etc. So while yes, mobile can do "more" in the Moment attribute than a PSP or iPod, it is not a benefit that is unique to mobile. Contrast that to the "Available at the Point of Inspiration" - if we have in our pocket an iPod, a PSP and a mobile phone, and we see David Beckham walking on the street and want to snap a picture - the PSP and iPod are useless, only the mobile phone (ie cameraphone) can be useful for us to capture the moment - (and to complete the example, still differing from stand-alone digital cameras - only the mobile phone is always connected so we can also upload the picture immediately, rather than carrying the digital camera back home and uploading the image via our home PC, perhaps hours, even days later)

So Tommi, good point, but I think its an added benefit, and useful and powerful, but not unique to mobile.

Alan - good point. I've somehow from a "technical" point of view, thought of the social context of the user data as being part of the 6th benefit (best customer info) but you are right. It is a separate unique benefit. On TV or radio or print or the internet, we don't know the social context of that consumption. On mobile we for the first time can capture that.

For those reading this response who arent' very fluent with Alan's and my thinking - here is the simple exammple. I am a fan of James Bond. So lets say the new upcoming James Bond movie (Quantum of Solace) to be released November 2008, launches a mobile marketing campaign, with a small 007 game as part of it. So I might find that mobile game on my phone, for example on the Vodafone portal. And I could download the game all by myself and play it and that could be it. If so, that would be similar to any gaming experience I might have on the internet.

But consider this. What if I really liked it. And I know Alan is also a Bond fan, as is his son Joseph (in fact their whole family are nuts about Bond, ha-ha). So, lets say I download the game, and I play it, and I love it. But the game does not have a forwarding link (for some strange reason, the game developers didn't think of it). But I like it, and I send an SMS text message immediately to several of my friends who are also 007 fans in the UK - such as Alan. And momentarily after receiving that SMS, Alan downloads the same game. Soon thereafter, Joseph downloads the game, etc.

Only on mobile networks, can we detect the social context of our consumption experience. It is "Web 2.0 vs web 1.0" kind of a total change. Consider the credit card or loyalty card. We can gather very well customer behaviour data on a loyalty card (like Tesco in the UK) or a credit card. But there is no way to capture the social context of that purchase - who was with me at the time, who did I give the gift to, etc.

But on mobile we can. We can for example track the location of every phone. So if I make a payment on the phone at a coca cola vending machine, and buy two cokes, and within my proximity at the time is another phone number, with which I regularly send text messages and make phone calls, we can very well deduct that Tomi probably gave the second coke to his friend, whose phone number is 0123456789..

The social context of our behaviour.

Now, its easy to say, yes, we can also do that online. But we can't. The online identity and digital footprints are so muddled (multiple accounts, firewalls, multiple users of single PCs such as family PCs, removed and blocked cookies, anonymous accounts, etc) that while it was theoretically possible to try something like this on the web, in practise it is impossible today.

But on mobile all that data is automatically collected. We know exactly who you are communicating with, at all times (by who, I mean we know the phone number, it may be listed as Donald Duck on a prepaid account). So again another example. The annual ice hockey world championships - if you monitor my phone behaviour during the world hockey championships, I send dozens upon dozens of SMS text messages during the games that Finland plays. So even though I live in Hong Kong and have a Hong Kong and UK mobile phone account, it would be rather easy to guess, that this guy must be a fan of Finland ice hockey.

And then the social context - those people who share in those text messages during those games - are certainly ice hockey fans, and if their messaging pattern holds for Finnish games, those are likely Finnish fans. But the messages that only peaked during the Canada-Finland game, are likely Canadian fans or random ice hockey fans...

The social context. A black science. But it will expand the customer insights far beyond the "1.0" kind of thinking today - what Tomi Ahonen consumes on his phone today - to the social context "2.0" thinking, who is involved when Tomi is consuming that content...

Good point Alan. I hadn't thought of it that way. I do think you're onto something again (ha-ha, what else is new). I think we need to add the 7th unique benefit to the 7th Mass Media, eh? Now I need to write it out, probably with a 007 example, ha-ha...

Yeah, not only the most accurate info on the audience, but for the first time we capture the social context of the media consumption.

Thanks for writing

Tomi Ahonen :-)

David Cushman

One thing to throw into the mix: advertising selected as content by the creators of UGC, as seen on
I've written about this here:
cheers dc

Tommi Holmgren

Thanks Tomi for your reply. Very good point that during your idle time you can use many other devices than just the mobile and thus it's not unique. I fully buy into this!


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